Villar: Let’s all build a greener, healthier environment

In consonance with the theme of this year’s Earth Day celebration on April 22, “Restore Our Earth,” Senator Cynthia A. Villar on Thursday called on everyone to participate in initiatives to bring back a greener and healthier environment.

Villar also cited the global significance of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park, a 175-hectare mangrove forest and marine habitat that is one of the world’s most important wetlands, as included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

It was first declared a critical habitat and ecotourism site in 2007 with the issuance of Proclamation No. 1412, series of 2007, and was legislated as a protected area under the E-NIPAS law in June 2018.

Earth Day 2021 focuses on the restoration of the world’s ecosystems through natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment, has been advocating environmentally sustainable practices like urban gardening, which she started in Las Pinas in 2011. Even with small spaces, residents can grow vegetables in the comfort of their own homes, the senator said.

She noted that urban gardening has become popular not only in the Philippines but also in other countries, and that even in metropolitan cities like New York and in European countries, residents living in small apartments and condominium units find ways to put up vegetable gardens in their homes.

A staunch environment advocate, the senator has likewise filed legislation to restore the health of Mother Earth.

Among these bills are the following: SB No. 1331 – An Act Institutionalizing the Practice of Extended Producers Responsibility in Waste Management; SB No. 333 – Single-Use Plastic Product Regulation Act; SB No. 2036 – National Wetlands Conservation Act; and SB No. 2078 – Revised Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.

Apart from the Earth Day 2021 celebration spearheaded by the Climate Change Commission on April 22, where she will deliver a speech, Villar will also join two events related to the occasion.

On April 21, she gave a message virtually at the launch of the Upper Marikina Watershed Coalition.

On April 19 – 24, 2021, a virtual presentation of “Better Earth, Better Reality Pledge” of various leaders, policy makers, and change makers will play, organized by the Climate Reality Project Philippines.

On the Las Pinas- Paranaque Wetland Park, Villar has been strongly fighting its planned reclamation, insisting that Ramsar’s recognition should be coupled with responsibilities to protect it.

She extolled the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park as a favorite destination of bird watchers due to the amazing rare species of birds found here, like the black-winged stilt, the endangered Chinese egret, and the endemic Philippine duck.

“It serves as a haven for 84 bird species, including indigenous and migratory birds from as far as Siberia, that nestle on the mangrove trees. The beach area serves as their feeding ground,” she added.

This wildlife sanctuary is also a natural barrier against storm surges and high tides that can cause massive flooding in Las Piñas, Parañaque and Bacoor City in Cavite, Villar said.

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